How is it possible for our sins to be erased (1 John 4:10)?

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To erase sin means that God does not credit the sin to the sinner’s account. God not only forgives our sin but also accepts the repentant sinner as if he had never sinned. For the sin has been laid upon Jesus, our substitute “the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). God doesn’t see our sins but sees the righteousness of Christ our Substitute. David the prophet wrote, “You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin” (Psalm 85:2).

But sin is not covered in the sense that it is overlooked. There is only one basis for the forgiveness of sin and that is “repentance.” The apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Forgiveness takes place only when it is coupled by repentance. Some Christians confuse the two processes and seek for forgiveness on the confession of sin alone. But God asks for a repentant heart. The sinner has to expel sin from his life by the power of God. Then, forgiveness follows this act of abandoning sin.

Some Christians work hard on keeping their sins “confessed up to date,” not realizing that forgiveness doesn’t take place unless there is a real change in the life and sin has been abandoned by the mighty power of God. “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). The righteousness of Christ will not cover one cherished sin in the life. Before this precious gift can be given, the old, inherited and cultivated sins must be put aside.

This was the experience of David. It was on this basis that he obtained forgiveness for his great sin. His repentance was genuine. His prayer was: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:10, 11).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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